A2: Studio Redesign

For this project we were tasked with improving the studio space. How we were to design the “studio of the future” was left open-ended.

In this rough storyboard our user enters studio. There are three people in studio already, one standing in front of the fan in order to stay cool.


The user sits down at their desk to begin work.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.57.50 PM

However, after a short amount of time the user becomes sleepy and takes a quick nap on their desk. While the user is sleeping the rest of the students leave the studio.


Since the user was relatively motionless in their chair when sleeping, SmartThings didn’t detect any motion and turned off the lights. The fan has also been turned off.


The door, originally left open, was shut and locked automatically after 30 minutes after SmartThings didn’t detect any motion.


After the first crit I decided to go beyond my first iteration and looked through many different changes I could make to studio that I found interesting. Most were about saving energy and didn’t even use any technology.



I concluded that the two best ways to reduce energy use in the studio was through the lights and heating. I believe these would have the largest “pay-off” in energy saved.

One of the challenges I faced was conflicting information towards how the human body lost heat.


My idea for the heating involved shutting off the heating of the overall room entirely, instead catering to each individuals need in the studio. This would save energy as only those present would use enough heat for themselves.


Here the user has sat down to work the camera has just finished calibrating. Once the camera calibrates, the fan heater follows the user’s head movement as people will probably take off any scarf or mask that would cover their face. Since that part of their skin is exposed, it will lose heat.


The camera adjusts the heat of the fan by detecting shivers (involuntary movements by humans to stay warm) of the user. This will prevent excessive heating.


The camera detected movement and thus the heat fan adjusted.track3

Since the forearms and hands of people may be uncovered in the wintertime even while indoors, body heat would be lost from there. In order to only selectively heat those uncovered body parts, I thought of a tabletop with heating elements underneath and motion sensors on top.

whole desk fin

The motion sensors would detect cold parts of the arm and selectively heat body parts in quantities proportional to how cold they were. In this instance the user’s hand is colder than their forearm.small highlight

My classmates had lots of different questions and critiques for me that I hadn’t considered or had dismissed as irrelevant earlier. Some of the most notable concerns I heard were:

  • Awkwardness and possible discomfort (drying of skin) of a heat fan following around the face of the user
  • How exactly the heating element would be applied to the table, some users wanted to retain the wood tabletop
  • Some users felt cold in their legs and feet, not in their hands, forearms, or head
  • How the app would heat body parts instead of design supplies, possibility of damaging design supplies


I worked through most but not all of the issues I was alerted to through feedback. My solutions, illustrated and diagramed below were:

  • For the heating of the head, I didn’t arrive at a solution I was comfortable with. I experimented with an even more awkward device in which a series of heating strips would form a “helmet” of heat around your head and track your movement. The feeling would be akin to the matrix in which a user’s head would become completely immersed with heat and connected to their seat.
  • In defining how the heating elements would be implemented, I settled on the idea of a rigid heating element that could be slid in and out of tables. The heating element would be half an inch below the wood in order to prevent accidental cutting of the element as well as preserve the wooden feel of the desktop.
  • In addition to a slit being cut in the desk, a space underneath the floor could contain another heating element that could track the movement of feet. After further researching body heat, I believe that heating the soles of users’ feet (which are very sensitive to heat) will fool the body into thinking that their legs are warm too.
  • Finally, in order to give more user control I reasoned that an app could be used to control temperature of the heating element, determine which areas to heat or not, and calibrate the heating element to track certain body parts. This app could coincide with IFTTT in that a preset temperature for the heating element could be set based on the current weather conditions.


For my demonstration I used the “Wizard of Oz”ing technique in which I added effects to a video. This demo shows the specific heat tracking technology in use. Only the user’s right hand has been calibrated to be heated, thus the rest of the desk or user’s body isn’t heated.



I wanted to improve studio by catering individually to each user’s heating needs in order to save energy.


This project I learned how to use sketchup and how to “wizard of oz” demos. I also fully realized the importance of documentation/aesthetic quality of a final project.
I used simple drawing as well as software such as sketchup and adobe premiere. I learned sketchup and adobe premiere effects through inclass instruction as well as online tutorials. The significance of final documentation was learned through videos shown in class and comparing my work with my classmates.
I learned sketchup and adobe premiere effects within the two week period of the project.
I didn’t plan far enough in advance for this project. Too much time went into worrying about how exact the sketchup recreation of the studio needed to be.
I didn’t personally assess my own work enough, but I did get a fair amount of critique from my peers. The critiques helped open my mind to different aspects of my initial idea. I did assess the validity of the in-class critiques in order to further my understanding on my idea as well as to see which critiques were worth pursuing.
In the beginning of the project I felt a sense of futility, but I began to regain my optimism by the end of the project. The feelings of futility were based in my initial interpretation towards the task of “improving the studio”. I personally have great appreciation for the current studio environment as few other majors have dedicated workspace for their use. My optimism and enthusiasm towards the project was increased after I switched my focus towards promoting green activity in the studio.
Work in other classes began to pick up, but for the most part I procrastinated because I didn’t feel too excited about the project.
When starting this project I had reduced motivation, as I was still feeling a little bit stressed about the ending of the last project. My motivation picked up towards the end of the project, but I wasn’t as motivated as I was for A1.
    What were you challenged by?
I struggled to find a sense of meaning in the project as well as to find an effective way to demo my idea. When hearing about others’ ideas as well as considering my own I would ask myself, “do I really need this”?. The truth was that most of the technology was unnecessary. I had trouble creating green technology that was reasonably grounded in reality as well as finding effective ways to demo it.
    What did you do well?
I had pride in my attempt to save energy in a significant way, as I researched many different methods of saving electricity and focused on some of the most impactful ways.
    What would you do differently?
I definitely need to start out projects with more enthusiasm than I did with A2. With enthusiasm I can shape a project towards what I want to do, starting without energy only stalled my progress. Also my process work was lacking in this project, too few options and ideas were covered in my sketchbook. Finally, I will seek out more feedback on my work throughout the project. Multiple critiques will keep me motivated as well as make sure I’m not straying off my main idea or losing a sense of reality or imagination.

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